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October 27, 2020:

A PATCH OF BLU

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it has been a long and exhausting day doing long and exhausting things, so I am therefore sitting here like so much fish continuing my journey through the Szell box, currently on CD 25, which, interestingly, is back to mono for just this one, after five stereo CDs – the rest, until the very end of the set, are all stereo.  The stereo recordings are interesting on a number of levels – the performances and band are flawless – but the first stereo disc, which is the Brahms first symphony, the sound in the first movement is very muddy, but it improves thereafter.  The second stereo is better sounding and by the third stereo recording they seem to have figured out the venue and mic placement and everything sounds fine.  This set is bringing so much needed pleasure, especially coming on the news that Jerry’s Deli is closing this Friday, which is infuriating but not unexpected.  How long can these places hold on – and they don’t have a huge outdoor dining section nor do people seem to use it, which is odd.  So, no more early Saturday breakfasts there, no more matzo ball soup (what they do best), no chicken tenders, no Philly cheesesteak, no more of their incredible chili, cheese, an onion hot dogs and omelets, no more seeing the wait staff, who are all friends, no more daily visits to have a nice leisurely lunch as I’ve done for many years now.  I am sickened by it.  And I fear others will follow – this has been eight MONTHS already.  And despite promises from our idiot governor, there is still no date set where indoor service can begin again (with protocols).  By the time this is done what will be left – I think that’s the question that everyone should be asking right about now.  Anyway, the music does help endure this horrid time we’re all going through.  Perhaps November will bring a sea change, which is what we ALL need right now, and on that point, there is really no discussion.

Yesterday was a long and exhausting day.  I got a text at eight in the morning after only three-and-a-half hours of sleep.  I had to respond, which I did, and a Zoom meeting was set for noon o’clock.  I got back in bed around nine-thirty, finally fell asleep again, and got another two hours of sleep.  Once up again, I got myself together for the Zoom meeting, which was with Patrick Cassidy and which was fun.  We figured out everything he’ll be doing, so that’s all set now.  Once that was done, I did some futzing and finessing of project one, had to rewrite one section of the commentary, and then I moved forward on project one.

Then I made a steak and as a side dish, a Marie Callender’s frozen dinner thing – mac-and-cheese.  It was surprisingly excellent, and the steak was fine and all in it was about 900 calories.  Then I began writing the first set of four lined notes I have to do.  After that, it was back to project one and I did some more work on that, before finally calling it a day and you know how it hates when I call it a day.  I then sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on Blu and Ray from Warner Archive, entitled A Patch of Blue.  This is a movie I love.  I saw it on its opening day in 1965 at the Crest Theater in Westwood.  I fell head over heels in love with it and its female lead discovery, Elizabeth Hartman, whose first film it was.  They could not have cast it better and then to have Sidney Poitier give one of his best performances was the icing on the acting cake.  Well, not quite, because Shelly Winters and Wallace Ford are terrific, too.  I also fell in love with the Jerry Goldsmith and played its soundtrack album to death.  Of course, I’ve owned it on every form of home video, but was never that happy with any of those transfers.  Well, now we have a rather splendidly splendid Blu-ray, which I don’t think could be better.  The black-and-white scope photography (by Hitchcock regular, Robert Burks) is stunning, sharp as a tack, and with perfect contrast.  It has not a single flaw and we get a little bonus that the music is in stereo.  I got teary-eyed several times, mostly due to Ms. Hartman’s heart-rending performance.  And it’s really fun to see MacArthur Park and Seventh and Alvarado in all its 1965 glory.  While Langer’s was apparently there, you don’t see it in the film – I believe that corner building was a bank then, which you do see – they bought the bank building in 1967 and expanded their smaller space.  What was interesting is that across the street was a Biff’s Coffee Shop.  While I was watching, I was convinced that that was, in fact, the Langer’s location, but reading the history of Langer’s apparently not.  And for some reason you never see the Westlake Theater, so I simply may be confusing what direction the shots are in.  Interestingly, once they enter the park, then we’re back on the MGM lot.  Anyway, I loved it all over again, and if you’ve never seen it, hie yourself to Amazon and buy it.

After that, I did a little more work on project one – am definitely in the home stretch now.  Then I heard about Jerry’s Deli and was so irritated that I went to Gelson’s and got a little side green salad from Wolfgang Puck’s.  Not many calories, as the dressing was a very light vinaigrette.  I came home and ate it, along with a toasted bun with butter, so maybe I went over 1000 calories but not by much.  And this weight loss thing is such slow-going (eight weeks now) that it’s just quite disheartening and all you want to do is give up.  I’ll mush on for another four weeks, but I damn well see some faster action – I’ve definitely lost some weight but not enough.  Then I began listening to music and the rest you know.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up (need a really good night’s sleep), I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll work on project one and at least try to get within spitting distance of finishing it.  I’ll continue writing liner notes, I’ll eat (I think it’s a hot dog day), hopefully pick up some packages, and then at some point I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week is more of the same.  I’ll definitely go to Jerry’s for a final meal, either tomorrow or Thursday, as I think Friday will be insane, as these things usually are.  I’ll go a little later in the day.  I’ll also continue getting everything ready for the November Kritzerland show, and then on the weekend I’ll try to relax.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, work on project one, eat, hopefully pick up packages and mail, work on the Kritzerland show, and then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What stores and restaurants and theaters have you lost in the pandemic that you especially loved?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have seen A Patch of Blue on Blu-ray – so, A Patch of Blu.

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